Canadian Spotlight

Developer begins operating 195-MW Forrest Kerr project

AltaGas Ltd. completed a 72-hour testing period at its 195-MW Forrest Kerr project in British Columbia, Canada, that was required to achieve commercial operation under its power purchase agreement with BC Hydro.

AltaGas delivered a certificate of commercial operation to BC Hydro on Oct. 21.

The C25 million (US$645.4 million) run-of-river Forrest Kerr powerhouse and high-voltage switchyard were commissioned in July on the Iskut River. The weir, intake structure, desanding area and radial gate control valve were commissioned in May.

Forrest Kerr is one of three hydro projects AltaGas owns on the Iskut River. Forrest Kerr, 66-MW McLymont Creek and 16-MW Volcano Creek were developed under long-term power purchase agreements with BC Hydro and Impact Benefit Agreements with the Tahltan First Nation. AltaGas and BC Hydro signed a 60-year, inflation indexed power purchase agreement in 2010.

Occupation ends at 135-MW Jenpeg Dam project in Manitoba

Hundreds of protesters from Cross Lake, a community of about 5,000 Cree Indians (Cross Lake First Nation) in northern Manitoba, Canada, were poised to end their three-week occupation of the 135-MW Jenpeg Dam Generating Station on Nov. 7.

On Nov. 5, Cross Lake Chief Cathy Merrick announced all sides signed an agreement to resolve a treaty-related dispute unfolding at Jenpeg Dam. The facility is located 525 km north of the city of Winnipeg.

Beginning Oct. 16, with the exception of a skeleton crew to keep the dam in operation, Cross Lake First Nation members blocked personnel from entering or exiting Jenpeg Dam Generating Station. Manitoba Hydro owns and operates the facility.

Cross Lake First Nation contends Manitoba Hydro is violating their Treaty 5 agreement signed Sept. 24, 1875, in Norway House, Manitoba, with the Government of Canada. The courts regard Treaty 5 between the Crown and Aboriginal people and Cross Lake First Nation is included in the Aboriginal group.

Additionally, Cross Lake First Nation signed the National Flood Agreement with Manitoba Hydro in 1977. However, the Algonquian-speaking people complain their traditional lands are being regularly flooded, the fragile shoreline is eroding, and they claim Manitoba Hydro has not done enough to eradicate mass poverty and unemployment in their community.

Merrick reportedly said the locks would come off the grounds of the Jenpeg generating station after an agreement is finalized and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger agrees to personally deliver an apology to the community.

Manitoba Hydro is a Provincial Crown Corporation that serves customers throughout Manitoba.

BC Hydro upgrades canal, replaces switchgear

BC Hydro crews have drained Kootenay Canal to upgrade the canal lining at the 572.2-MW Kootenay Canal project in British Columbia, Canada, and finished a five-year project to replace switchgear at the 1,085-MW Mica project on the Columbia River.

Utility crews are to line 16,500-foot-long Kootenay Canal with a durable and specialized geotextile material designed for water storage in canals and reservoirs. The material is expected to extend the lifespan of the canal by about 50 years at a total cost of C$10 million (US$8.86 million).

The Kootenay Canal project was built on the Lower Kootenay River in 1976 to take advantage of flow regulation by other hydro projects on the river.

At the Mica project, the 500-kV switchgear delivers electricity from underground turbine-generators to above-ground transmission lines as part of the 1,000-MW Mica project expansion. The work replaced original equipment used since Mica’s 1970s start date.

Approval received for 1,100-MW Peace River Site C

Environment Canada and the environment and forestry ministers of British Columbia have granted final environmental approvals for BC Hydro to construct the 1,100-MW Peace River Site C hydroelectric project.

Canada Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq issued a formal statement Oct. 14.

Should the Site C project proceed, B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office is to coordinate compliance management efforts with other government agencies to ensure that the office is satisfied that all certificate conditions have been met.

The C.9 billion (US billion) Site C would be the third hydro project on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia, joining 2,730-MW G.M. Shrum and 694-MW Peace Canyon Dam.

For the latest on this project, see Hydro Currents, page 4.

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